Are You Ready For SEO?
In my experience many clients get caught up in search engine results and can get obsessed about SEO (or search engine optimization). However, far too often, they fail to think of the more important step. What will a user do when they land on your website?
What is SEO?
Put plainly, SEO is a means of taking steps to ensure that your website is as friendly as possible to search engines so you will show up for given key phrases. The biggest factors are:
- Content on your website
- Correct usage of technical tags
- Inbound links to your website
Is SEO the be all and end all?
Despite what you may have heard, no. Let me explain. Last week I was meeting with a potential new client and they asked "Will I show up #1 for search engines?" To which I replied, "For what?" I ask this because clients know that they want to show up but they often don't know for what or why. Let me put forward the idea that if you're spending a lot of time obsessing about your search engine ranking and SEO you're likely missing the point.
SEO can be good ... if everthing else is in order
Locally there is a company that promises SEO results and has examples to show and to be fair they do have decent results. The problem is that if you go to these optimized pages they are completely unreadable by a human being. They are flooded with keywords and most of the sites are so poortly designed there is no way their clients are getting much from this incoming traffic.
Personally, I would much rather have 10 visits to a page a day and have 1 of them contact me then to have 100 visits and zero contacts. This is where the disconnect often happens. It's not about the amount of traffic, it's about how many visitors take a desired action on your website.
Is SEO inherently wrong? Absolutely not. But if you are investing in SEO before investing in your website you are throwing money away.
A smarter approach ... obsess about your website not SEO
So, rather than obsessing with SEO think about what your clients will do when they get to your site. How can you improve your website to get users to take more actions you desire (buying an item, requesting a quote, etc.)? I like to use the analogy of a house when talking about a website. Consider the following:
Which would you rather visit? Which would you rather spend time in? I think the answer hear is obvious. A website is no different. Is your website inviting and encouraging action? Or is it turning people away by not providing them what they need? If the latter, no amount of SEO will fix this much larger problem.
So what can I do with all this time I save obsessing with SEO?
The reality is that if you add more content to your site you needn't even think too much about SEO ... people will link to you if you are producing new and worthy content. So, before you go off and spend money to bring traffic to your website I suggest the following to get you on a path to improving your website:
- Define 3 clear goals for your website (only 3, in priority order).
- Conduct a user test among 5 of your clients / customers (and ask them to complete one of these goals).
- Review your competitor's websites ... how does your site stack up?
- Add a blog or news section to your website.
- Commit to writing more and better content on your website (perhaps on said blog or news section).
- Clear any technical issues that are preventing users (or, gulp, search engines) from accessing your website.
- Work on constantly improving your website (tools like Google Analytics will go a long way to help you with this).
A strategy based around these seven steps will improve your website and help get it converting more of your users into customers and clients. Then (and only then) should you be thinking about investing in SEO (or really any paid advertising).
I work with clients every day on building a solid website focused on this approach (as well as internet marketing focused on a return on their investment) so if you are feeling overwhelmed don't hesitate to contact me.